RANGER AGAINST WAR: Zombie Apocalypse <

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse


I'm shocked! 
--Casablanca (1942) 

War is the spectacular and bloody projection
of our everyday life
--J. Krishnamurti 

When the fight was over, nothing was solved,
but nothing mattered. We all felt saved. 
--Fight Club (1999) 

Tell me with the rapture and the
reverent in the right - right.
You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright
light, feeling pretty psyched. 
--It's the End of the World as We Know It,
 R.E.M.
______________________

The Global War on Terror and the predictable knee-jerk reaction to the recent grotesque elementary school shooting share similarities. Both events will have elicited emotional responses that resulted in national policy based upon a feeling of vulnerability and demand for a response.

The terrorist attacks of 9-11-01 birthed the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©), a self-proclaimed generational war the hoped-for success of which is based on no solid academic study.  The 9-11 Commission's report was an emotional cover-up for the failure.  The shouts to "Remember Newtown!" will lead the march to gun control laws, which will always be ineffective.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have thrown billions of dollars at an external threat, not an existential one as we were led to believe.  The real threat was containable and achievable without the declaration of war. So too addressing the tragedy of mass murder in America will require more than curtailing gun ownership rights.

"We Need to Protect Our Children!" is analogous to, "We must fight them there to keep us from fighting them here," or, "We must not let a mushroom cloud form over our cities." Effective policy cannot be based upon fear and irrational thought; emotionalism is not leadership.

We should trust our system of government and allow the Congress to do what they are constitutionally required to do, rejecting a unilateral Executive Order which would be created from the chaos of emotional reaction.

The problem is not high-capacity magazines or incorrectly defined assault rifles -- the problem is that our culture is death-oriented rather than life-affirming.  We have weak-minded members of society playing games disgorging blood splattering heroics, so valuable that developers stay at the top of the stock market weeks after new releases and parents line up in holiday queues to gift their young ones with this antithesis to the spirit of yuletide cheer.  We love to ask what guns should we use during the zombie apocalypse, funnin' with the idea of having power enough to shoot the undead. It would seem, by all the current renting of garments, that the Apocalypse is upon us.

Even our down time -- our relaxation mode -- is spent watching or engaging in ersatz gun violence in our commerce with various forms of media. Scientists now know that on some level, the brain assimilates ersatz actions (even gossip) as actual, lived events. We swing from angst over not being able to procure these simulacrums of violence to angst over the thought of being unable to protect our children and ourselves from the actuality of the thing.

In a monumental height of hypocrisy, those same actors in the violent films, or the makers of the violent games, then campaign for gun control.  They make millions portraying gun violence then wash themselves off with their morally superior attitudes, which amounts to some more acting. An example would be Angelina Jolie who portrays gun-toting action heroine Lara Croft, and then murdered journalist Daniel Pearl's wife -- she plays both victim and perpetrator. There is no coherence here in a mind which seeks to make understanding; it is schizophrenic, at best.

All the while we wallow in violent representations our proxies -- called soldiers and contractors -- are waging actual violence around the planet while we celebrate their handiwork, the bloody and broken bodies plastered on the front of our erstwhile dignified national news magazines.We celebrate the non-judicial murders executed at the behest of our President, while crying crocodile tears when the same President abhors violence, performing as a penitent at the site of the recent school murders.

This is hypocrisy in the highest. The United States has been shooting civilian children and innocent adults since September 2001. We are no strangers to extrajudicial, indiscriminate death.

We are comfortable, or at least impassive, about the deaths committed overseas in our name, yet we get incensed when this violence settles on our doorstep. Are the lives of Connecticut kids more valuable than those of kids in Afghanistan of Iraq, or any country that carries assault rifles given to them by U.S. foreign military aid programs?  When our Defense policy is based upon the concept of overwhelming and non-proportional violence, how can we say that gun violence is a discrete and perplexing phenomenon?

We love cage fighting, and boxing and every blood-lusty thing we can sink our teeth into, yet have the temerity to act shocked when our more vulnerable members of society act out their revenge fantasies.  Maybe we should be listening and talking to each other as opposed to getting lost down the rabbit hole of self-indulgent video pursuits.  We can claim to have thousands of Facebook and Twitter friends who consume our ersatz self, but who knows our soul?  Who can feel anothers fear and react accordingly?

We are victims of our gluttony, gullibility and fear, and guns merely facilitate the problem.

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3 Comments:

Blogger FDChief said...

See my comments on PKF's post at Milpub and (eventually) over at GFT, but, the bottom line for me really is that the cost exceeds the benefit. I can no longer see what virtue there is in not tightening some regulations to make multiple shootings more difficult.

I may feel capable of handling my vehicle at 120mph but the speed limit is 70, regardless, and there's a reason for that.

And - and we've talked about this before, Lisa - how much more violent is the U.S. 2012 than the U.S., say, 1845? Hunting Indians for sport? Having a slave or three for fun, rape, and profit? Hangings as entertainment?

If we're so violent today where are our pogroms? Our massacres of Armenians, Jews, blacks, gays..? Our crusades, our Mongols and Huns, our stonings, our villains placed in stocks or in chains?

No argument that humans prey on other humans - always have, always will; homo homini lupus. But doesn't that make the point that it's a good idea to make it HARDER for the wolves, instead of throwing our hands in the air and concluding that it's just human nature and SO hard to deal with..?

I love you guys, but we're just not going to agree on this one.

Friday, December 21, 2012 at 9:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

We both recognize the heinous problem, and see different solutions (as though we may ever solve man's cruelty to man.)

As Steven Pinker notes, we're far less violent in terms of Crusades violent today than at any past time. That does not mitigate the imperative as a civilized society to act.

I will write more on the matter when I collect my thoughts.

Friday, December 21, 2012 at 9:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Geez, Lisa, if the results of your thinking is the post following this one - the one recommending that we turn every school into the pedagogical equivalent of the goddamn main gate at Ft. Lewis complete with armed MPs? That's the "solution"

Gawd help us.

Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 11:49:00 AM GMT-5  

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